Step Two: Plan for the Assessment
Stakeholders are people invested in the focus community and the implementation and/or outcomes of immunization programs. Securing key stakeholders’ support will help gain community members’ trust, paving the way for a successful assessment.
Sample Stakeholders to Engage
- Public sector (e.g., USDA Cooperative Extension Service, Americorps, Census)
- Unions (e.g., police, fire, transportation, healthcare, teachers)
- State chapters of professional associations
- Faith-based organizations and religious leaders
- Leaders of local health systems, hospitals, and clinics
- Pharmacists and clinician experts such as infectious disease physicians or medical providers from a large community practice
- Organizations serving populations disproportionally affected by COVID-19 (e.g., people experiencing homelessness, people who use drugs, rural populations, people with disabilities, agricultural and food processing workers)
- Community-based organizations working with immigrants and refugees
- Other organizations with wide community reach (e.g., YMCAs, YWCAs)
- Organizations serving seniors (e.g., Meals on Wheels, senior centers)
- Citizen advisory groups (city, county)
- Leaders of assisted living communities and long-term care facilities
- Managers of food-processing plants and grocery stores
- Personnel in congregate settings (e.g., jails, prisons)
- School communities
- School administrators
- School nurses (may be employed by the health department or the school system)
- Parent Teacher Association (PTA)/Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) members
- Community media outlets (especially those that serve closed/isolated communities)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person meetings may not be advisable. Other options include:
- Individual phone calls
- Group calls or virtual meetings (if appropriate)
- Attending stakeholder events (virtual or in person, observing COVID-19 precautions). For example, a pastor may invite you to speak at a church service.
During the call or meeting, cover:
- Reasons for the assessment (objectives) and who is conducting it
- Assessment timeline
- Ideas for data collection activities
- Community members who might be interested in being on the assessment team (see section on forming the team below)
- How the assessment data will be used and who will have access to it
- Plans for reporting to the community.
Prepare a short, one-page document in plain language or a brief presentation that summarizes:
- COVID-19 rates
- Vaccine distribution plans (or rates, if the vaccine has already been distributed)
- Assessment objectives
- Team contact information.
Have the one-page document translated into the language(s) most spoken by community members. If possible, include a key community informant when developing the document to avoid cultural or language/translation issues.
The ideal assessment team includes individuals committed to understanding and addressing community needs regarding COVID-19 vaccines and who have varied backgrounds, skills, and experience.
In some cases, you may wish to have an outside organization conduct the assessment (e.g., an academic group or community-based organization). If you choose this route, have the health department work closely with the group selected to ensure local perspectives are represented on the assessment team.
Some staff may be able to participate as part of their regular job (e.g., if they work for a community-based organization). However, in other cases, you may need to hire staff temporarily or provide a stipend; if so, include this cost in your budget. It may not be realistic to expect community members to donate time.
Potential Resources Needed
- Honoraria for community members who participate in the assessment
- Information technology services (e.g., to support virtual meetings)
- Data collection equipment/supplies (e.g., laptops, tablets, software, paper questionnaires)
- Printing (e.g., reports and questionnaires)
- Translation and interpretation services (e.g., for data collection, reports, community forums, focus groups)
- Incentives for survey/focus group participants (e.g., gift cards or retail discount coupons)
- Consultants who may have specialized skill set with data collection methods of choice
- Other miscellaneous expenses